the reckoning

By Kahlei Rogers

cw: some of the following poems discuss sexual assault and self harm

Photography by  Bella Snape

Photography by Bella Snape


it took me three years to seek help. my first year on college was almost my last year on earth. i never tuned into these feelings because i felt like there was a different cause; a breakup, friendship issues, the stress of moving away from home, starting university. all of these things amplified it, but it all eventually came down to the fact that i never allowed myself to feel.

when i was diagnosed with depression, i felt vulnerable, and debilitated. i felt like there was something wrong with me, and i began to feel as though everything that went wrong was because of who i was. i lost most of my friends, and it broke my heart when i told my mother. she felt like she failed as a parent, and i felt as though i failed as a child.

like most aspiring poets, i channelled my depression through my work. i rarely shared it with anyone, even friends, because it felt too personal. but as i have now overcome my depression, it only feels right to let others read my thoughts.

this is the reckoning.



i slept with you

three times

after you left me

            each time

                        the body was not yours




everyone is moving forward

but i am still stuck here

and i am still unhappy

and I still don’t                        know




it is almost as if

my heart stops beating

some days and

it is almost as if

im slowly


out of reasons

to cry and

it is almost as if

i have become so

accustomed to this

routine of self- pity

and sorrow and i have

forgotten what it is

like to be happy


it is almost as if

i am no longer

who i want to be.



i show

you love,

through soft words

and cheap gifts,

you show

me love,

through slammed doors,

and clenched fists.




our bodies have been touched,

by hands unclean,

our legs pried open,

forced himself upon me,

we’ve become so afraid,

of who we let in,

no longer comfortable,

in our bones and skin,

from now on,

when i say no,

you let go.




i spent sixteen years

writing stories

and poems

i also spent sixteen months

writing letters

and suicide notes.



despite attempts

to dowse

my own light,

i am still


still burning,





my mind

and my body

are beginning

to become whole

once more.


Kahlei is a 19 year old from Mackay, but now lives in Brisbane. She spends most days watching bloopers from The Office, drinking too much orange juice and taking photos of dogs.

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Artwork by Jess Frankland

"I am in recovery from a decade of eating disorders and my paintings are abstract forms of parts of my body. They are like small acceptance affirmations and also represent the noise in by head.”